My name is Don Berg.

I am the host of the Agentic Schools Vodcast and author of The Agentic Schools Manifesto.

I am the author of the award-winning book Schooling for Holistic Equity.

In order to help K-12 schools strive for deeper learning I founded Attitutor Services.

My research has been published in peer-reviewed journals.

I have over 20 years of experience leading children in self-directed educational settings.

As the Executive Director of Deeper Learning Advocates I am on a mission to embed the psychology of learning in policy so that policy stops undermining learning.

Internationally I have presented my work at conferences in the USA, Canada, Chile, China, England, Nepal, and in the Netherlands.

Video Transcript

Hello and welcome.

My name is Don Berg.

I’m a recovering fauxcheiver.

Fauxchievement is when you get the rewards of schooling without mastering the lessons that were taught.

It is fake achievement.

I went through K-12 in public schools in Long Beach, California.

I didn’t realize how hazardous my pattern of fauxchievement was until after I had gotten into and dropped out of one of the most elite schools in the country, Reed College.  

In the summer before I started attending Reed in the fall of 1986, I discovered a passion for educating children that has stayed with me ever since.

It took me many years to figure out what had short-circuited my early college career. 

A major step in figuring it out was graduating from Reed in 2012 with a degree in psychology—25 years after I originally started. 


My life journey has taken me along a crooked path, but one key theme has been leadership.

Whether you are a principal, a superintendent, a school board member, or a leader without a title, I want to help you understand what I’ve discovered about the psychology of learning.

And how knowledge of that psychology will enable you to be the best school leader you can be from whatever position you happen to occupy.

My work on educational leadership includes innovative ideas like Holistic Equity, Catalytic Pedagogy, and Back to Basics 2.0 which you can learn about through my books, videos, and other works.

The results of good leadership in schools, no matter what else you call it, is what I call Catalytic Pedagogy. is a joint project of Attitutor Media, a company I founded, and Deeper Learning Advocates, for which I am the Executive Director. 

I have over 20 years experience facilitating children's learning by leading them in non-classroom settings. 

For example, I started a holistic microschool back in the 1990s, long before the pandemic made microschools a popular option.

I operated that program for about five years into the early 2000s. 

My students were mostly six to twelve years old. 

We used the community as the primary learning resource and made decisions about what to do day-to-day by consensus.

Getting my degree in psychology led to having a couple of peer-reviewed journal articles published. 

One was for my thesis research on the patterns of motivation for students attending two schools in Oregon. 

Just after I finished the degree I had a friend invite me to help him co-found a political non-profit called Portland Clean Air.

For eight years I was on that detour from my primary passion for educating children as the Board Treasurer and the primary administrator for the organization.

PCA was highly effective at organizing neighborhoods to negotiate directly with polluting industries. 

Over twenty-million dollars worth of pollution mitigating equipment was installed with our encouragement. 

Pretty good for local grassroots activists who never used the press to embarrass a local industry, never lobbied elected officials, and never filed a law suit. 

The secret of our success was arming the neighbors of each industry with the information they needed to negotiate directly with them about how to mitigate their toxic emissions.

So, there are three worlds that I want to bring together moving forward: psychology, politics, and school leadership.

While I was on that political detour I kept my passion for educating kids alive by continuing to write books and staying in touch with the fields of psychology and holistic education.

Before the global pandemic struck I had done presentations at conferences in North America, Europe, and in Asia on the topic of how to combine Self-Determination Theory with Deeper Learning. 

Since then I have added South America and hope to add Africa and Australia sooner rather than later.

After many decades of practice, research, presentations, and writing I am launching a new web site and a new life in which I will help you become the best school leader that you can be.

On this website and through the newsletter I will be sharing information about topics I find fascinating, the research I think is interesting along with books and articles, some that might need to be set straight and some that deserve celebration for communicating the science particularly well.

Most exciting to me is the opportunity to share with you ways to bring it all together to help you use your leadership position to make your schools better. 

I want to help you make deeper learning become the norm, not the exception.

I will show you how to manage the hidden curriculum, not just worry about it.

Don Berg avatar

Most important I will be painting a picture of Holistic Equity and how to achieve it by putting the psychology of learning into policy so that policy stops undermining the learning. 

Thanks for joining me in my new adventure.


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